I think it is always important to be willing to try new things. If you are of "a certain age" you may remember a TV commercial with the tag line "Try it, you'll like it!" While we were in Germany at the CreativeWorld show we saw lots of stands for fine arts - paints, canvases, easels, etc. While Mandy and Enfys were left unsupervised they went off and signed the three of us up to do an oil painting class.
I have never tried oil painting. My brother is a talented artist and I leave that sort of thing to him! I didn't want to be a spoilsport so I went along with the plan to take the class. It turned out to be a lot of fun and I actually produced the "masterpiece" at the top of this post in less than an hour!
The class was at the stand of the Martin/F.Weber Co. which is located in the Philadelphia area, very close to where I grew up. This is a very old company (started in 1853) and they produce all sorts of art materials. We were using the Permelba oil colors with Liquiglaze medium. We started with a blank canvas that had been prepared with a coat of black gesso.
Our teacher was Alexander Cruz, from Puerto Rico. He was happy to have some English speaking students who were willing to get a little noisy and enthusiastic as he coached us on making our first paintings. Alexander was a student of Bob Ross, who is well known for his TV series. Bob Ross has a signature line of products at the Martin/F. Weber Co.
These little dabs of paint and larger blob of Liquiglaze were all we needed to complete our paintings.
We used four brushes - difference brushes for different techniques. We learned that a very important part of creating the painting was the choice of brush and the method of loading the paint on the brush.
After painting all over the cavas with a mixture of dark green and dark blue blended with the medium, we took the fan brush, loaded it with green, yellow and a bit of white and rolled it between our hands to create these swirls on the canvas.
Here you can see Mandy and Enfys working on this step - it felt very odd to hold the brush like this but the result was quite effective in creating a moody sky.
This is the canvas of the fourth member of our group - who also happened to be an American living in Germany. His sky ended up looking like a face in the clouds - maybe a cat?
Here I am nervously holding my fan brush. I was amazed that I didn't get any paint on my clothes - I usually have glitter and ink all over myself when I do a project at home!
Next, Alex came around with a large dry blending brush and smoothed out the sky on each painting.
The swirls of paint quickly turned into an interesting sky.
This is my painting after the sky was completed.
There was a sample painting we could look at and Alex also painted a new copy along with us. One of the funniest things was the sound effects that went along with the strokes we were supposed to make. It actually did help you to remember how to move the brush but we must have sounded crazy to the crowd that had gathered to watch.
We next added the trees by just pouncing the large brush across the canvas, varying the heights of the tress along the way. The waterfall was tricky - he had us listen to him and watch the steps along with the sound effects and then we each created our own version of the fall. I had a bit of "water" shooting off to the right side but decided to leave it as it was. Sometimes going back to "fix" something only makes it worse.
After the trees and waterfall, we added the grassy meadow along the sides. Once again this was done by loading up the large brush with green and yellow and "pouncing" it along the sides to meet the water.
We were almost finished. The two large trees were next and they were made by loading the brush with the darker color on one side and the light on the other to create a bit of a dimensional shadow.
Once the main tree trunks and large branches were in place, we added some smaller branches. At this point we were finished and just needed to sign our art (I had trouble signing with the thin brush and ended up painting over my messy signature - I'll try again sometime).
It was interesting to see that even though we were all following a pretty strict formula and set of instructions the paintings had a lot of variation. Look at the mess we made of those neat little dabs of paint!
Apparently we were enthusiastic and noisy enough that they sent off for the video crew to come make a short video of the "master painters" in action. It may even end up on the company website!
We posed for a group shot with our paintings and our teacher and then they boxed up our wet paintings in a protective carrier. It was very funny that night back at the hotel as we kept sneaking peeks at our paintings - they actually looked so much better than we imagined they would.
Here is what the painting looked like once I got it home and it was thoroughly dry.
We even went out to find a frame to suit it - I am "auditioning" this one and I think I'll keep it and hang my first (and possibly only) oil painting somewhere in my craft area.
Have you ever tried oil painting? Do you do other types of "fine art" in addition to your crafty projects?
I'll be picking up my new glasses today. They have rhinestone flowers on the sides - what was I thinking... I hope they look good with my new haircut - about eight inches shorter than it was in the photo above!
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